At the Cave of the Winds observation decks, thrill-seeking visitors can get within 20 feet (6 meters) of the thundering Niagara Falls for an experience that feels like the inside of a tropical storm with torrents of water cascading down and winds up to 68 mph (109 kph). Safe to say, you’ll probably get wet.
A Cave of the Winds tour is a must for those who want to experience Niagara Falls up close. Though the cave that once existed behind Bridal Veil Falls is no longer, the site now features wooden observation decks that allow visitors to experience the powerful, thundering water. The journey begins on the US side of the falls, with a 175-foot (53-meter) elevator descent down Niagara Gorge to the level of the Niagara River. From there, visitors can venture onto the aptly named Hurricane Deck or keep their distance on a platform 150 feet (46 meters) from the base of the falls.
For an in-depth experience, combine your Cave of the Winds tour with a ride on the famed Maid of the Mist boat or a trip to Prospect Point Observation Tower. A half-day tour of Niagara’s American side allows visitors to explore highlights such as Goat Island and the Mighty Whirlpool, while a full-day tour also features Canadian attractions such as Skylon Tower.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tours to Cave of the Winds depart from Goat Island in New York on the US side of the falls.
- You will get very wet when experiencing the Cave of the Winds—be sure to use the provided rain poncho, and consider bringing a light jacket and change of clothes.
- Cave of the Winds has a deck set 150 feet (46 meters) from the falls that is specifically designed for wheelchair users and adults with small kids.
How to Get There
Niagara Falls State Park is located along the US–Canada border. To get there, most visitors fly into Buffalo Niagara International Airport or drive in on Interstate 90. Cave of the Winds tours leave from Goat Island, roughly 15 minutes by road from Niagara Falls, New York. All-day parking is available on Goat Island for a small fee. Most full-day and half-day tour options include pickup from local hotels.
When to Get There
Cave of the Winds only operates from May through November, as the wooden walkways and decks are taken down in late autumn to prevent potential damage from ice and snow. The site is open daily from 9am to 7:30pm; opt for an early visit to avoid crowds.
History and Legend
The original Cave of the Winds was a naturally formed cave behind Bridal Veil Falls. Discovered in 1834, it was first named Aeolus' Cave after the Greek god of winds. The cave was roughly 130 feet (40 meters) high, 100 feet (30 meters) wide, and 30 feet (9 meters) in depth, but in 1954, it was destroyed by a rock slide caused by a nearby dynamite explosion.